HARDY accepted his Songwriter of the Year trophy at the ACM Awards on Monday night, and he made sure to thank all the artists who’ve helped him get to where he is today: Dierks Bentley, Morgan Wallen and Thomas Rhett, to name a few.

“There have been so many,” HARDY emphasized. But the very first people to take a chance on him were Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, as country duo Florida Georgia Line.

“I was nobody then, I truly was. I had nothing going on,” he remembers. “I was writing songs, but they were the ones who were like, ‘You’re doing something cool.’”

But it was another sentiment HARDY had to share about FGL that made press do a double take backstage at the ACMs: “It started with FGL. RIP,” he said.

Sure, the superstar duo announced recently that they’re taking a break, but “RIP”? They haven’t shared anything that final about their status as a group with the public. Of course, it’s possible HARDY could have just been making an offhand comment about their break — but it could also be the case that he knows something we don’t about FGL’s plans, or lack thereof, for an eventual return.

After all, as HARDY says, he and the guys from FGL are close. He’s written many songs for them and is a guest vocalist on “Y’all Boys,” off their 2019 Can’t Say I Ain’t Country album.

Whatever might be in the future for FGL, it seems likely that HARDY’s star will continue to rise. Not only is he an increasingly hot artist himself, he’s also continued to write for other country stars’ projects, and has become so in-demand that it feels “surreal,” he says.

HARDY released his full-length debut, A Rock, in September 2020.

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